Sanchez Shines at The Real Deal

Having reached a decision this past week to transfer to the new Har-Ber High School in Springdale after playing his sophomore season at Springdale High, Michael Sanchez then goes out and puts up some big numbers in the Real Deal on the Hill.

SPRINGDALE - After a phenomenal morning effort, Michael Sanchez and his Arkansas Hawks didn't have enough gas in the tank for an in-state rival.

Sanchez, a 6-8, 200-pound sophomore who has announced he will transfer from Springdale to Har-Ber High in the same city next season, had 24 points and 21 points Sunday morning at the All-Star Sports Arena to lead his Hawks past the Tulsa Bulldogs 67-65 in the 16-and-under division of the Real Deal on the Hill.

He capped that victory off with a game-deciding 3-pointer, but needing one more win to play in the championship game at Bud Walton Arena, the Hawks fell behind big early and couldn't overcome the Arkansas Wings in a 62-52 semifinal round loss.

"We played a tough first game and had to give everything we had to win it," Sanchez said. "We just didn't have anything left to give. We did our best. I'd like to play them down the road and I'm sure we will."

Sanchez - who averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds this season after being offered a scholarship by Arkansas before the campaign started - and his teammates got a little rest and then came back to grab third place with a 52-50 win over Memphis YOMCA in their final game of the event.

It was his ninth game of the tournament, playing two with the 17-and-under Hawks as well although he has decided to just stick with the 16-and-under squad the rest of the summer.

He averaged 20.4 points and 15.8 rebounds per game in the tournament, including 22.3 points and 17.3 boards in 16-and-under games alone.

"I have played with these same guys my whole life and I just think it's better if I concentrate on playing with them," Sanchez said. "Everybody knows where the other is going to be where they drive in and dish and I think we are going to have a great summer together."

The Mid-State Ballerz ended up winning the 16-and-under title with a 52-51 win over the Arkansas Wings, who were led by 6-5, 190-pound Junction City star James Anderson.

Sanchez will be playing this summer for former East Poinsett County and current Lincoln head coach Kevin Kyzer.

"He's a great coach," Sanchez said. "He's helped us a lot. Without him we wouldn't even be here this far in the tournament."

Along with several of his current Springdale teammates, Sanchez will be transferring next season to Harber, the new school set to open in the city.

He'll play for former Fort Smith Southside head coach Eric Burnett, who is making the move to Harber.

"I'm looking forward to it," Sanchez said. "Everything went into my decision and I just decided it was what I want to do. Other than that, I'm not really talking about it much."

The Hawks will next travel to the Spiece Memorial Day Tournament in Indiana and will be playing later this summer in tournaments in Texas and Las Vegas.

"I think I played all right in this tournament, but I need to play and can play a whole lot better than I did," Sanchez said. "I am just going to keep getting after it and trying to be the best player I can be."

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